Date of Award
Masters of Science
Charles B. Hurd
Although the readiness with which petroleum oils oxidize when exposed. to heat and air is well-known, and a great many so-called "service and "sludging" tests have been devised to ascertain and predict empirically, the value of oils when put to use as lubricants in automobiles, turbines, etc., or in transformers and condensers as heat absorbers and dielectric, little has been known of the chemistry of the oxidation of oil and of the quantitative effect on this oxidation of various catalytic substances. An ever increasing interest in petroleum chemistry can be noted by a reference to the literature of the past five years. It may also be noted that a great part of all previous work is of very little value except in the roughest qualitative way in explaining what happens to an oil when it is subjected to heat and air in the presence of' foreign substances which may act as catalysts. It is being further realized that "service" tests to be of value should be based on scientific studies of a thoroughly quantitative nature as exacerbate as the complexity of petroleum chemistry will permit.
It is this extreme complexity of the mixture of hydrocarbons and related compounds which go to make up petroleum that is responsible for the meager knowledge of this very important branch of aliphatic organic chemistry. Some work has been done by the Russians and Germans especially during and since the war.
Sherburne, Arthur John, "The oxidation of mineral oils and the effect of positive and negative catalyst on the oxidation process" (1927). Honors Theses. 2247.